The AMA’s Green Guide to Working from Home

The AMA’s Green Guide to Working from Home

By Arts Marketing Association (AMA)


This comprehensive guide offers practical strategies for sustainable remote work.  From innovative waste management techniques to energy-efficient home office setups, the guide covers essential aspects of reducing your carbon footprint while working from home. It provides region-specific advice on recycling and energy schemes, along with creative ideas for repurposing materials. The guide also delves into sustainable digital practices, offering tips on eco-friendly AI usage and green marketing strategies for the arts sector.

Welcome to the AMA's (Arts Marketing Association) Green Guide to Working from Home your essential resource for reducing your carbon footprint. The AMA's Green Champions have compiled practical tips and insights tailored to help you make environmentally conscious decisions in your daily work routine. From innovative waste management to inspiring sustainable lunches, this guide offers simple yet effective ways to contribute to a greener future. Let's make this a living document by sharing your own tips and experiences from Bristol to Belfast, Glasgow to Cardiff.

An illustration of a head being watered by a watering can.

Section1: Waste Management

Effective waste management is key to reducing our environmental impact. Follow the four Rs:

  1. Reduce: Minimise waste by avoiding single-use items and unnecessary purchases.
  2. Reuse: Opt for reusable items like water bottles, coffee cups, and shopping bags.
  3. Recycle: Separate your waste and recycle materials like paper, glass, and plastic. Check your local council's recycling guidelines and buy recycled products when possible.
  4. Recover: Compost food waste and use it to nourish your garden.

In the UK, we generate about 26 million tonnes of waste each year. By following these practices, you can significantly reduce your contribution to this figure.

UK-Specific Recycling Tips:

  • In England and Wales, check your local council's website for specific recycling guidelines.
  • In England, go the general Recycle Now website for everything you need to recycle, reuse and repair.
  • In Wales use the Wales Recycles website for recycling information, ideas and inspiration.
  • In Scotland, use the Recycle for Scotland postcode locator to find local recycling information.
  • In Northern Ireland, visit the Recycle Now NI website for detailed recycling instructions.

The journey of food waste in Northern Ireland

Top 4 Tips:

  1. Set up a designated recycling area in your home office.
  2. Opt for digital documents instead of printing whenever possible.
  3. Use reusable containers for storing food and packing lunches.
  4. Repurpose materials for art projects. Donate suitable waste to local arts and community projects - get creative with waste materials in your work.

Section 2: Energy Efficiency

Creating an energy-efficient home office is essential for reducing your environmental impact. Here’s how:

  • Natural Light: Set up your workspace in an area with plenty of natural light to reduce the need for artificial lighting.
  • Energy-efficient Lighting: Use LED bulbs, which use at least 75% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
  • Temperature Control: Adjust your thermostat slightly lower in winter and higher in summer to save energy. Seal drafts around windows and doors to maintain a comfortable temperature.
  • Standby Mode: Avoid leaving appliances on standby. The average household spends £45 yearly powering appliances left on standby.
  • Batteries: Opt for rechargeable batteries for wireless microphones and other portable equipment.
  • Energy ratings: When purchasing new equipment, prioritize energy efficiency ratings.

AMA Green Champion Saira's top tip: A new habit I'm trying to get into is turning my electric hob or oven off before I need to. They stay hot for ages so they don't need to be on for as long as you think. Also charging things until it's charged, not overnight. 

Regional Schemes:

  • England: Green Homes Grant for energy-efficient improvements.
  • Scotland: Home Energy Scotland for advice and support.
  • Wales: Nest scheme for energy-efficient home improvements.
  • Northern Ireland: Affordable Warmth Scheme for energy-saving measures.

Top 3 Tips:

  1. Turn off equipment when not in use and avoid standby mode.
  2. Invest in a smart meter to monitor your energy consumption.
  3. Use dryer balls and line-dry your clothes when possible.

Section 3: Sustainable lunches

Eating sustainably is good for your health and the environment. Here’s how:

  • Shop Locally: Support local farmers and reduce food miles.
  • Choose Organic: Opt for organic produce to minimize exposure to pesticides.
  • Plant-based Meals: Incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet.
  • Homemade Meals: Cook in batches and store leftovers for later.
  • Reusable Containers: Pack your lunch in reusable containers instead of single-use packaging.
  • Planning: Plan your meals in advance to avoid food waste.
  • Cold not hot: Use cold water when washing fruits and vegetables.
  • Compost: Compost food scraps to reduce waste and nourish your garden.
  • Reduce Food Miles: Try the "50-mile diet" challenge - source as many ingredients as possible from within a 50-mile radius of your home and grow your own herbs on your windowsill for fresh, zero-mile seasonings.

Top 3 Tips:

  1. Don’t overfill the kettle; boil only what you need.
  2. Choose sustainably sourced and ethically produced ingredients.
  3. Take your own reusable shopping bags to the store.

Sustainable Lunch Recipes

  1. Seasonal Veggie Wrap:
    • Ingredients: Whole grain wrap, locally sourced seasonal vegetables (e.g., roasted beetroot, carrot, and spinach in winter; cucumber, tomato, and lettuce in summer), hummus.
    • Method: Spread hummus on the wrap, add sliced veggies, roll, and enjoy!
  2. Zero-Waste Soup:
    • Ingredients: Vegetable scraps saved throughout the week (e.g., carrot tops, onion skins, celery leaves), lentils, herbs.
    • Method: Simmer vegetable scraps in water, add lentils and herbs, blend if desired.
  3. Local Cheese and Apple Salad:
    • Ingredients: Mixed greens, sliced local apples, crumbled local cheese, walnuts, balsamic dressing.
    • Method: Toss all ingredients together in a reusable container.

A selection of sustainable recipes from WWF - UK. Reduce the impact of the food you eat by trying some of their planet-friendly recipes.  Four food images with descriptions: Quinoa power pot with berries and seeds Slices of banana and spelt loaf cake Carrot and chickpea burgers with avocado and salad Spinach and chickpea falafel wrap with beetroot Each image has a title and brief description below it, highlighting the dish's key features and suggesting when to eat it.

Section 4: Green Energy Providers

As of 2023, renewable energy sources accounted for approximately 40% of the UK’s electricity generation. This includes contributions from wind, solar, biomass, and hydroelectric power, reflecting the UK’s ongoing commitment to reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and increasing the adoption of green energy technologies. By choosing a green energy provider, you're supporting this positive trend.

Switching to a green energy provider can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Here are some UK providers:

  • Ecotricity
    • Overview: Ecotricity is the UK’s first green energy supplier, established in 1995 by Dale Vince. It supplies 100% renewable electricity generated from wind and solar power, and 20% of this energy is produced by Ecotricity’s own infrastructure. The company is also known for its vegan energy certification.
    • Website: Ecotricity
    • Key Features:
      • Heavy investment in new renewable energy projects.
      • Ethical values including anti-fracking initiatives.
      • Generates a significant portion of its own energy.
  • Good Energy
    • Overview: Good Energy provides 100% renewable electricity sourced from UK generators. It was founded with a mission to support small-scale renewable energy projects and offers a transparent tariff system.
    • Website: Good Energy
    • Key Features:
      • Long-term power purchase agreements with renewable energy producers.
      • Active support for community energy projects.
      • Competitive pricing compared to other green energy suppliers.
  • Green Energy UK
    • Overview: Green Energy UK offers 100% renewable electricity and green gas. It distinguishes itself by being the only supplier to offer 100% green gas made from biomethane.
    • Website: Green Energy UK
    • Key Features:
      • 100% green gas alongside renewable electricity.
      • Focus on customer engagement and transparent billing.
      • Support for sustainable and local energy initiatives.
  • Octopus Energy
    • Overview: Octopus Energy provides 100% renewable electricity and has been praised for its customer service and innovative tariffs, including a dynamic pricing model.
    • Website: Octopus Energy
    • Key Features:
      • Flexible and innovative tariff options.
      • High customer satisfaction ratings.
      • Investments in new green energy technologies.

AMA's Green Champion Dani has switched to Octopus. Dani says: My absolutely golden tip right now would be Octopus's 'Agile Octopus' tariff. You can see the energy price per kWh for each 30 minute window of the day, so if you use energy outside of peak times you get much better rates. In January my bill was £420 (I KNOW - old house with single glazed windows) and after I switched in mid Feb it was £213. 

  • Bulb
    • Overview: Bulb supplies 100% renewable electricity and carbon-neutral gas. Known for its simple tariff and focus on customer experience, Bulb has grown rapidly in the UK market.
    • Website: Bulb
    • Key Features:
      • Simplified single tariff system.
      • Strong emphasis on customer support.
      • Competitive pricing and transparency.

An illustration of a man on a bicycle with a woman on a scooter behind against a stormy sky.Independent Guides to Comparing Energy Providers

For an independent comparison of energy providers in the UK, Which? provides detailed reviews and ratings based on customer feedback and ethical criteria. Additionally, MoneySuperMarket and Uswitch offer comprehensive comparison tools to help you find the best green energy tariffs.

Additional Tips:

  • Compare green energy providers and tariffs using online comparison tools.
  • Consider installing solar panels if suitable for your home.
  • Support renewable energy projects in your community.

Top 3 Tips:

  1. Choose a provider that offers 100% renewable electricity.
  2. Opt for paperless billing to reduce waste.
  3. Encourage friends and family to switch to green energy providers.

Three bales of ground. 2 growing trees. 1 growing a wind turbine.

Section 5: Practicing Sustainability at Home

Upgrading your day-to-day habits can improve home sustainability. Here are some tips:

  • Energy-efficient Garden: Plant native, drought-resistant plants.
  • Reduce Consumption: Make environmentally conscious decisions about all items of consumption.
  • Sustainable Transportation: Choose public transport, walking, cycling, or electric vehicles.

Top 3 Tips:

  1. Stop unnecessary purchases of stationery and other office supplies.
  2. Make sustainable food choices by opting for less meat, eggs, and dairy.
  3. Commit to working digitally and eliminate the need for paper, printers, and ink.

Section 6: Sustainable AI and Digital Tool Usage

Digital tools and services, including AI-powered applications, are essential but come with energy consumption. Here's how to use them sustainably:

  1. Be mindful of your searches to avoid unnecessary energy consumption.
  2. Optimise your AI usage by defining clear objectives.
  3. Choose eco-friendly service providers that prioritise sustainability.
  4. Regularly clean up your digital space to reduce energy required for storage.
  5. Use energy-efficient devices with certifications like Energy Star.

Top 3 Tips:

  1. Be intentional when using AI-powered tools.
  2. Prefer service providers that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability.
  3. Regularly assess and optimise your digital carbon footprint.

The AMA's Green Action Hub is full of practical resources that help to reduce your carbon footprint - from reducing page weight to procurement, from typography to  customer journeys.

Section 7: Sustainable Digital Communications and Marketing

Digital communications and marketing contribute to our carbon footprint. Here’s how to make them more sustainable:

  • Optimise Email Usage: Avoid unnecessary emails and keep messages concise.
  • Sustainable Web Design: Minimise the weight of web pages by optimising media.
  • Eco-friendly Social Media: Be mindful of the frequency and content of your social media posts.
  • Green Online Meetings: Use energy-efficient video conferencing platforms and opt for audio-only calls when possible.

Top 3 Tips:

  1. Optimise your digital content to minimise energy consumption.
  2. Choose sustainable service providers for email marketing, web hosting, and video conferencing.
  3. Integrate sustainability into your digital communications and marketing strategy.

Share your tips

By adopting sustainable remote working practices, you can reduce your carbon footprint, decrease air pollution, use resources sustainably, save on energy bills, and increase property value. Every small action counts. Let’s work together to create a greener, more sustainable future. We'd love to hear your sustainable success stories. Share your tips and experiences on social media using #GreenCultureUK, or email our Editor with ideas and tips for this guide.

Let's collaborate to create a greener, more sustainable future for the arts and for our planet.

Head and shoulders of AMA's Green Champions: Molly, Carol, Dani and Saira


Resource type: Guide/tools | Published: 2024